Spider-Man 3: No Way Home Theory Predicts Fate of Doc Ock, Green Goblin & More Villains

By Matt Roembke Posted:
Spider-Man, No Way Home, Doc Ock, Alfred Molina, Green Goblin, Electro

With the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer breaking records, trending worldwide, and building this movie up to be one of the MCU's biggest ever, there is a lot to talk about. 

What is interesting about the teaser trailer is the amount of story that was given away in the three-minute clip. Starting with Peter Parker's identity being revealed to the world, how it is impacting the people in his life, and how he handles it is almost enough for an entire movie by itself.

This is not to mention adding in the Doctor Strange aspect, breaking open the multiverse, and returning a variety of classic Spider-Man villains (from different movie franchises). All of this adds up to audiences being in store for a movie and a half come this December. 

There are a plethora of big moments in the teaser that have grabbed the attention of the fans. Perhaps the biggest is the fact that five major Spider-Man villains from the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield-led franchises were teased in some way. Any webhead knows that when there is a group of Spider-Man villains, five is actually one short of a Yahtzee.

The five villains hinted at in the teaser all brought something unique and exciting to the table. Some got more spotlight than others. Some presented exciting potential story beats. A few even got a different look than what fans remember from their original Sony appearances. 

Looking at who these villains are, how they were used in the teaser, and even how they are dressed could give some clues to the future of this rouges gallery past Spider-Man: No Way Home.  


Doc Ock, Alfred Molina, Spider-Man
Marvel Studios

Doc Ock is the star of the show.

Alfred Molina has been the leader of fan theories and speculation about the arrival of non-MCU characters in No Way Home for the better part of a year. Since announcing his return as Doctor Otto Octavius, the "Live Spider-Verse Theory" has been one of the biggest in the superhero landscape. His appearance in this trailer confirmed the hopes of many as Otto arises from the ruble with his classic robotic tentacles and a similar outfit to his Spider-Man 2 one. 

Molina revealed that his character is in fact a continuation of his 2004 one, and No Way Home brings him out of that universe. While this is in no way confirmed, the tentacles, outfit, and even his presence lean the pendulum that way. If Otto is in fact the same Otto seen in Spider-Man 2, this appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home is most likely a final curtain call for one of the most beloved villains of all time. 

Considering that franchise has been finished since 2007 and remade twice, it would be difficult to market Spider-Man 4 in a way that feels cohesive. But with the multiverse in the MCU and money to be made, nothing is impossible. 


Green Goblin, Willem Dafoe, Tom Holland, Spider-Man
Marvel Studios

Speaking of anything being possible in this universe, Willem Dafoe is back, or, at least, it appears that way. 

To warm up the crowd before the big Doc Ock reveal, this teaser gave fans an audio/visual nod to the original live-action Spidey villain. When the green and orange Pumpkin Bomb rolls onto the highway and that signature sinister laugh is heard, nostalgia washed over Spider-Man fans worldwide as the return of Green Goblin was all but confirmed. 

Gobby did not get the screen time granted to Doc Ock, which is interesting when considering how much Marvel Studios did to confirm it is Sam Raimi's Green Goblin. The bomb is identical to the 2000s run, and the laugh is undeniably Willem Defoe, or is it?

Dafoe's death in 2002's Spider-Man seemed as absolute as it gets. That is doubled down when it is the focus of the B-plot for the sequel. It is tough to imagine Doc Ock would be pulled from the Raimi universe but not Norman Osborn. So while it is most likely Dafoe's character returned from the dead, it could also be James Franco as Harry Osborn and the second Green Goblin. 

Regardless of which Osborn is behind the bomb, much like Molina's character, this is likely one last look at the villainous family that started it all. There is a reason these two characters were more prominently featured than the others, perhaps so fans can fall in love again before saying goodbyes one last time. However, it could be because these are the characters fans are familiar with while the others could be something different.


Sandman, No Way Home, Tom Holland
​Marvel Studios

Thomas Haden Church has been rumored to be in this film as well, and there is a shot that looks an awful lot like the ground acting more humanlike than not. The Sandman nod is one of the most subtle, but the internet is running with it. 

The most interesting tidbit about this appearance is if that is Sandman, then he is attempting to aid Peter Parker as opposed to the attack-like nature of everyone else on this list. With the story arc for Flint in the Raimi trilogy ending on a good note, this could lead to Sandman coming to this movie as a friend, not a foe. 

However, the same could be said for Molina's Doc Ock, but a costume detail might give away Otto has swayed back to the sides of evil. Sandman's role, much like everyone else's, is highly unknown. But knowing where this character is mentally and the nature of his appearance in the teaser could suggest he sticks around at the end of No Way Home


Electro, Spider-Man: No Way Home
Marvel Studios

While Molina may be the face of this teaser and Dafoe was the first big pop, the man that started this movie hype train is as prominent as ever: Jamie Foxx. 

In a social media post and delete frenzy, Foxx confirmed his involvement in the MCU's third Spider-Man project and even went on to explain he would no longer be dawning the infamous blue flow from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. 

In the teaser, Electro is clearly shown using his shocking abilities to cause some damage with a new and improved yellow glow. This confirmed Electro's role in this movie, backed Foxx's claim of being Electro, and showed that not all former villains will be copied and pasted from their original universes.

If both Doc Ock and Green Goblin are seemingly pulled straight from the Raimi universe, it would make sense for this to be a one-off appearance for them. If Electro and other The Amazing Spider-Man characters are pulled from different universes with different looks and feels, the future could be brighter for them. Variants are hot in the MCU right now and after the appearance of Sylvie in Disney+'s Loki. 

A Variant angle on The Amazing Spider-Man characters could be advantageous for Sony, which is developing a Spider-Man universe on its end. Opening the door for an actor like Foxx to take another swing a widely considered swing-and-a-miss villain from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 would allow the original Spidey-studio to build on its end while taking advantage of the MCU's success. 

It also would make the most sense for the door to be left open for the Spider-Man universe featuring a Peter Parker actor who is prime to continue what he started. 


Lizard, Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield
​​Marvel Studios​​​​

Finally, the most blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene of the teaser features the main antagonist from The Amazing Spider-Man. The Lizard, while having a surprisingly good character background, received heavy backlash, mostly for its design in Andrew Garfield's debut film.

The actor who plays Doctor Curt Connors, Rhys Ifans, has not been anywhere near the rumor mill for Spider-Man: No Way Home, but that does not leave Lizard out of this movie. 

Being a walking, talking reptile, Lizard will be mostly CGI and appears to have received a new look as well with more of a snout and less of a Super Mario vibe. While the shot of the Lizard is quick and tough to make out, it is still noticeably different from what was seen in The Amazing Spider-Man, lending one to believe this is another Variant situation. 


Spider-Man: No Way Home, Tom Holland, Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Electro, Lizard
Marvel Studios​​​​

Once again, if The Amazing Spider-Man characters are in fact Variants while the Raimi characters are who fans know from the movies, the door is open for one group to have a swan song while the others have a chance to re-launch one of the most tragic franchises in comic book movie history.

It is hard not to get emotional about the return of the Raimi villains as many Spider-Man fans grew up watching them in theaters and on DVD. It would be a tough task to continue those stories that began and ended more than a decade ago. Using them as one-time appearances in what seems to be a tribute to webheads everywhere seems the most appropriate. 

On the other hand, The Amazing Spider-Man franchise was supposed to spark the Spider-Man fire all over again. After the rapid success of the MCU and with the studio craving for a multi-picture, spin-off-heavy, interconnected universe, the sequel was packed to the brim and the story suffered because of it.

If Electro, Lizard, and even Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker can appear in No Way Home with a Variant tag, new looks, and fresh takes on established characters, the opportunity for a Sony-driven soft reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise is in play and would make a decent amount of sense. 

There has never been a better opportunity to have two Spider-Man franchises running alongside each other in the Sony and Disney camps. This is the power of Peter Parker. 

- In This Article: Spider-Man: No Way Home
Release Date
December 17, 2021
- About The Author: Matt Roembke